Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team completed a sweep of all three races in the Contender Round on Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway, besting Dale Earnhardt Jr. and winning the 500 at Talladega Superspeedway – his third-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Logano started the race in the 10th position, his best qualifying effort on a restrictor-plate track this season. All afternoon, the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion proved to be a fast car, running up front in the top-five and leading laps. As it typical with restrictor-plate pack racing, the Ford Fusion would run anywhere from first all the way back to 15th. Logano led on two occasions for a total of 20 laps. Late in the race, following a round of green-flag stops with less than 20 laps to go, Logano found himself and teammate Brad Keselowsi racing Earnhardt Jr. and others for second place while the leader, Greg Biffle, tried to stay out and make it on fuel. A late-race caution with just five laps to go brought Biffle, not able to make it on fuel, to pit road, putting Logano back in the top spot. With the race limited to one green-white-checkered finish, Logano got the jumped on Earnhardt, but NASCAR called the start off after an accident back in the pack, resulting in a second green-white-checkered attempt. On the second attempt, Logano once again got the jump on Earnhardt as a multi-car accident unfolded in the back of the pack. This time, NASCAR threw the caution with Logano just feet in front of Earnhardt, resulting in a race that finished under caution and giving Logano his first-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at the 2.66-mile track and his 14th-career victory. Logano has now won three-straight races – each of the three events (Charlotte, Kansas, Talladega) that made up the Contender Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Logano will now head into the three-race Eliminator Round, which will set the stage for the Championship race at Homestead in just a few weeks, as the series points leader. It was also Team Penske’s first three-in-a-row win streak since Rusty Wallace in 1994 (Dover, Pocono, Michigan).

“We got momentum, that’s for sure. This team has just been firing on all eight right now. It’s amazing. All these different types of race tracks we’ve been able to win at this season and how hard everyone keeps fighting. We want the big trophy at the end of the year. We want to win every trophy in-between, but we want the big one at the end of the season. What we’ve shown here this last round is a big deal, but the fact of the matter is we’re back to zero again. What we do have going for us that other teams don’t have is a lot of confidence, we’ve got momentum and we’re relaxed. We’ve shown that we know how to do it. We’ve just got to keep going out there and doing what we know how to do. “I didn’t think it was possible to sweep all these races in this round, I can tell you that much. When you come to Chase time everyone is bringing their A-game, bringing everything they’ve got, the best they can – not only with their race cars, but every driver is trying to find that extra little bit and to see what this 22 team has done coming into the Chase and being able to have some very good finishes in the first round, click off three wins here in the Contender Round, it sets a statement and that’s what we tried to do.”